Wake Forest Creates MPJ Policies to Help Address Exclusion & Diversity

Quoting Justin Green from the cedadebate.org forums, with regard to their College debate tournament:

Tournament Judging Policies…..

We want to thank the people who have had the courage to, at least, bring this to our attention.  There have been many, and not enough.

Our observations reveal that at past Shirley’s non-males and black judges are disproportionately less likely to:
– be placed in elimination debates
– fulfill their judging commitment in prelims
– judge debates at the top of the bracket in prelims

This is a problem.  

Our observations also reveal that there is a split in the community that reveals some judges across the ideological spectrum never have an opportunity to judge certain debaters.

This is a problem.

We do not pretend that any top-down solution from a tournament will alone be sufficient to remedy these problems or prevailing attitudes and structures that create them.  We will try the following actions this year.  We do this in the spirit of innovation/experimentation.  One move in a struggle for a better community that has no finish-line…

PRIOR TO THE TOURNAMENT
We intend to collect demographic data for self-identified non-males and/or black judges.  The process for how we do this will be announced prior to the tournament and pending IRB approval.  We intend to publish the collective results of the survey data.  Every judge will be asked prior to the start of the tournament when they plan to depart on elim day.  We strongly encourage anyone desiring to judge late elimination rounds plan to stay at the Shirley through finals.

PRELIMS:
– Competitors will fill out an ordinal ranking sheet just like previous years.
– We will disregard preference and only use mutuality. In the event of a tie, the judge with the higher number of committed rounds will be placed.
– We will utilize 95% of the pool; competitors will have 5% strikes.
– We will reduce hired judging – enough to allow for sickness/no-shows.

OUTROUNDS:
– We will disregard preference and only use mutuality.
– We will utilize 95% of the pool; competitors will have 5% strikes.
– 5 judge panels – more judges seeing debates, more learning happens both ways between debaters and judges.  
– Commit to placing self-identified non-male and black judges in outrounds.  Judges who self-indicate non-male and black may select whether or not they wish to increase their likelihood for judging.  At a bare minimum for the first two elims, we will aim to get proportionate representation of the judges who are in the pool (all are obligated).  At a bare minimum for quarters and beyond, we will aim to get proportionate representation of the judges who volunteer/are obligated.  (i.e. If there are 40 non-male judges in the pool out of 120 judges in prelims.  Then 30% of the judges in double-octofinals should be non-males.)

COUPLE OF QUICK THOUGHTS:
– We expect that many factions will say that this disadvantages them the most.  They might all be correct.  But, at no point, will two opponents have an “unfair” judge.  Both teams might like them, both might hate them, but both teams will feel the same way.
– Gaming the Pref sheet – Some might try to “game” the pref sheet.  We think the current system also allows for “gaming”.  Every time competitors have a say in their judges, there is gaming.  We think that this system will alter the placement of the critics.
– LGBTQ, Hispanic and Intersectional Concerns – We have chosen to focus upon non-males and black judges because in our experience these two groups end up at the bottom of the pool most often.  Are there larger concerns we should address as a community? Yes.  
– We, as a coaching staff, acknowledge this is for our tournament, this year in the spirit of community innovation.  Perhaps it will go well and others are willing to adopt (like adding a minute to the rebuttals).  Perhaps it goes not as expected never to be repeated again (like declaring 2 rounds of public debates at a competitive debate tournament).
– We are listening to community thoughts on NDT/CEDA Traditions and CEDA Forums.
– Judges should consider the effect that exclusive mutuality has upon their Judge Philosophy.  We encourage judges to update their judge philosophies as appropriate.

– We will serve the best coffee, have a tent with snacks, and still have 8 prelim debates a doubles and a victor to be declared at the end….Hopefully an educational and enjoyable time is had by all.

CONTINUE THE DISCUSSION ON VB3…